PARTNER INTERVIEW: Meredith Rogers of NeueHouse
EPCF is excited to announce a partnership with NeueHouse Hollywood, a private community of professionals and entreprenuers with dedicated workspaces, thought-provoking events & personalized services.
We spoke with NeueHouse Hollywood’s Director of Cultural Programming, Meredith Rogers. Meredith works in the unique place where hospitality meets the creative arts. Bringing people together in a cultural context is her biggest passion. In her position at NeueHouse, Meredith has built a unique program of events that unites the cultural disciplines under one roof, joins different perspectives together to create a new dialogue, and invites the people of Los Angeles to collide and connect.
Describe the path that led you to the work you do now. Did you take any big risks to get where you are?
I had a pretty traditional path in the art world working for great museums (the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Dia:Beacon and the Fondation Cartier in Paris). After completing my Masters in Curatorial Studies I moved back to New York at a time when art world jobs were scarce. By happenstance I ended up working for Thomas Keller at his 3-Michelin star restaurant Per Se. It was a diversion from my original path but a seminal experience in my life. The supreme education I received in hospitality while working for Thomas Keller followed me to every work experience since: lessons of detail and elegance, intuiting people’s desires and what working as a team can acheive. It was very powerful. I took those lessons and applied them to working in culture, at Blum & Poe, LACMA and now at NeueHouse. I’d say the biggest risk I’ve taken is saying yes to every opportunity that has come my way. This philosophy has taken me to Paris, New York and Los Angeles. I was in a bar in Brooklyn when I was offered a job at LACMA. I had never been here but held my breath and took the jump. Sometimes you have to ask yourself: am I someone who says yes to adventure? And then you have your answer.
Do you have a daily working routine? Can you describe it?
For me, a daily routine is nearly impossible! But I think I like it that way. I love to start the day with yoga and a 15-minute meditation if possible. Once I get to work I have very little control over what the day looks like. Some days I have meetings every 30 minutes and with 3-4 events per week, I’m always either putting out small fires or surfing last minute details. I need to build in the time to get inspired or go on a vision quest (aka. Internet deep-dive!)
What are your most important artistic tools?
People. I’m actually not an artist. But I’m lucky because I get to be around artists and creators all the time. To me there is nothing more incredible than the people who dare to put an idea or a piece of themselves into the world, not knowing what the response will be. Talking to and knowing these types of people will forever give me new energy to keep doing what I’m doing which is bringing their work into a collective dialogue.
Who are some current artists, creators, or people working in other fields whose work you admire?
Currently I’m so fascinated by artists exploring other mediums than the ones they are known for. For example, we screened Kate and Laura Mulleavy of Rodarte’s first feature film Woodshock at NeueHouse this Fall. The film was beautiful and, as a fan of their work in fashion, I loved hearing about how they approached the challenges of a totally new experience. It makes you realize how inherent creativity is and that it is not tied to a specific medium. Also that we should all be experimenting outside of our comfort zones more often.
What is a new idea you have been working with recently?
I’ve been working on an idea for a programming series that focuses on Creative Couples. I’m inspired by the way boundaries are breaking down between our personal lives and working lives. If you think about the creative process and then imagine creating with your romantic partner, you can imagine there must be a lot to talk about!
Do you have any objects you like to keep around you as inspiration? What are they?
Funny story. I love crystals. I was actually having a bad week the other day and ran over to my favorite crystal store, Spellbound Sky, to load up on Tourmaline, Smoky Quartz and Obsidian – stones that protect against negativity. Well things went from bad to worse and so a friend, who is much more knowledgeable about this stuff than me, suggested I bury the stones to give myself a little break for a few days. I complied and buried the stones in a patch of dirt behind my house. The next morning one of the stones had unearthed itself. I was so freaked out I sped back to Spellbound Sky to try and get rid of them. After a long talk with the owner and careful consideration, he helped me realize that I was looking at the negative things happening in my life in the wrong way. The stone was actually my power and my creativity, a brilliant reminder that if anybody or anything tries to mess with me, I just need to say (direct quote) “No way, not today Satan!” Needless to say, I’ve been keeping that little guy quite close to me these days.
What do you do, or where do you go to seek fresh ideas or renewed creative energy?
I keep going back to culture. A city like Los Angeles doesn’t give it for free, but we have such incredible resources in this town if you make the effort to go find it. The other day I went to an afternoon opera at the LA Phil, Yuval Sharon’s new piece, followed by an experimental theater piece by William Kentridge put on by CAP at Royce Hall. Between the incredible gallery scene, burgeoning classical music groups, all the makers and artists, as brilliantly showcased each year by the Echo Park Craft Fair, the riches of this city run so deep and provide endless inspiration.
Do you think community is important to creativity? If so, how?
1,000% The more I work, the more I doubt the concept of genius. We are products of the paths we live through, the people we meet, the things we collide with. I’m sure even Einstein had someone he could bounce ideas off of! The beauty of a place like NeueHouse is that we are creating a community of incredible creative entrepreneurs who are shaping the DNA of our city, and that is a collective effort.
Did you have any artists or creative people in your family? If so, how did they influence you?
I come from a family of designers and culture makers. My sister is a color designer at Nike and has always been able to make something great out of nothing. My father runs an art school in Detroit and has led the charge of a new creative community in that city. My mother is a graphic designer and has always encouraged me to “drink in the paintings” at any museum I go to. My uncle is an architect and always coming up with a crafty idea. He and my aunt make wine in Napa Valley and are so inspiring in the way they entertain and live with the land. I’ve always been around creative problem solvers, so it’s in my blood really.
Meredith Portrait by Anthony Cabaero
Neuehouse building Emily Andrews